Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Image TM & © Curtis Publishing

Love to all of you who have left comments in this past year!

Go to to order J.C. Leyndecker prints.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A little Christmas "SPIRIT"!

I unintentionally lied in the last post.
I said that the first fan letter I'd written was to Dave Stevens. It wasn't. The first one was to Will Eisner, during the Kitchen Sink Spirit magazine days. In fact that's where my first fan art was published. A short time later I had the chance to meet Mr. Eisner at a book signing at Forbidden Planet in NYC. I showed him my published sketch of Popeye coming to the aid of a dazed Spirit and Will graciously signed it for me, along with a few other items I'd purchased.

A few years later I was publishing the Honeymooners comic book and since one of the issues featured Ralph and Ed coming up against gangsters my partner Norm Abramoff suggested we interview Will Eisner. Our books always featured an interview with either a cast member from the TV show or a personality that would suit the theme. After talking with Will and getting clearances to use art from his latest graphic novel "The Dreamer" and permission to use his distinctive signature logo on the cover art we began a correspondence that lasted for many years.

In the early '90s I began sculpting figurines of obscure vintage characters from animation and comic strips, as well as maquettes of original characters. I sent one of the sculpts I made to Will, based on his character "Kilroy", shown in strip detail below. Will was kind enough to send this greeting card.

Kilroy is the little guy with the peppermint stick in his mouth.
And yes, he's throwing a snowball at Santa!

Here's a quote from Will Eisner that I find inspiring, especially when you consider the year he said it...

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dave Stevens, an appreciation...

If anyone inspired me--
--it was this man.

Did he inspire you?

In the early '80s I bought an issue of Pacific Comics' Starslayer by Mike Grell. The back-up feature was the first chapter of The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens. I couldn't believe how beautifully rendered it was. I'd grown up on a steady diet of MAD, Warren, Marvel and DC comics, as well as strip artists like Al Capp, Milton Cannif and Will Eisner. I'd also read plenty of reprints featuring golden age stories by Simon & Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth and Lou Fine. But this Stevens guy was different. His art seemed to capture the flavor of all of my favorite comics artists, but in many ways it was much better. More appealing. You could tell he'd put a lot of love into it.

I wrote Dave a letter, the first fan letter I'd ever written, after reading his story and I received a postcard from him within a few weeks. After that I started writing letters and submitting illustrations to comics publications like Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes. It was fun being published and the bug bit me. Within a few years I'd left Advertising to create some comic books and later worked at Warner Brothers, creating art and product for their studio stores. But the one thing that inspired me to follow my heart was a simple postcard from a very generous and caring individual.

If you are a fan of Dave's, or just want to learn more about him buy this new book... "Brush With Passion: The Art & Life of Dave Stevens". It's an amazing display of his artistry and it's chock full of personal information about one of the best illustrator/storytellers of our time.

I chose this image so it wouldn't give anything away. This is a visual of Dave's inks and colors over Jack Kirby, and they are beautiful. But they're nothing like the beauty of Dave's own work. Buy the book, you won't be sorry.

Here are a few more of Dave's beautiful illustrations, taken from the internet...

Sadly, we lost Dave earlier this year, but he will live on in the fields of illustration and comic book art forever.

(July 29, 1955 - March 11, 2008)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Roz and I would like to thank everyone who attended the DCP Character Artist Holiday Party at our home last night. We hope you all had a good time.

We created a simple "jam" comic strip during the party. Here it is...

Monday, December 08, 2008

There are places I'll remember--

Here are some sketches I made of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn during my Thanksgiving holiday visit...

Please excuse the wonky perspective in the monument sketch directly above, it was getting cold in Brooklyn after a few hours and my hands were freezing.
This World War I monument was dedicated to locals who served. Among them was a soldier named John Lennon.

This post is dedicated to
musician John Lennon, October 9, 1940 - Decenber 8, 1980,
who loved my neighborhood, he said it reminded him of Liverpool. Mr. Lennon visited the home of my friend Jimmy Iovine, recording engineer/producer a few times in the mid-'70s. I've been told that George Harrison also spent a week in the late '60s at the Cobble Hill quarters of the Hari Krishna's, on the corner of Kane and Henry streets, directly across the street from where Winston Churchill's mother once lived.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Other Side...

After seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in '64 my friends Lou Maresca, George Menella and I started a band named "The Other Side".
At first we practiced at our parents houses, easing the pain inflicted on our families by playing at a different house each time.

I can still remember my Dad asking my Mom: "Do they ever finish a song?", as we searched for the right chords and rhythms. We played in the streets, at block parties, birthday parties and at school dances and "Battle of the Bands" shows held in St. Stephen's School Auditorium. We also did a few outdoor shows at Prospect Park and Carroll Park.
Competition in Brooklyn was tough, there were lots of other groups also looking for the same bookings.

In the fall of 1970 me and my buddies rented out a neighborhood meeting hall, The Luso-American Cultural Center on Henry and Rapelye Streets to stage one of our shows. The club was a popular neighborhood location, with a full size stage and backstage area. It was used mainly for catered affairs like engagement parties,'football weddings' and anniversaries. We drew a crowd of nearly a hundred people and played a lot of Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Rolling Stones songs, all with extended jams for about four hours.
Here we are, together again, nearly four decades later, in front of the still-existing hall.

We're thinking about having a Halloween Show at the same location in 2009.

That's our good friend Chuck Farranto sandwiched between me and Lou in the bottom photo.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

All day and all of the night...

So my wife and I arrived early at Newark Liberty International Airport for a five pm flight back to LA, because that's how we roll.

And then the flight was delayed an hour.

No reason was specified.

An hour later we were told in an announcement delivered by the most unintelligible person in the terminal that our plane needed a new part, and it wouldn't get there until tomorrow... BUT they were flying another jet from JFK to Newark, and it would arrive in a half hour.

An hour and fifteen minutes later the unintelligible lady announced that our plane would not be arriving for another hour.

An hour and a half later we were told that the plane was still waiting for takeoff clearance. So we waited. And waited. A very angry lady made her way up to the counter and gave unintelligible lady a piece of her alcohol-soaked mind. Other frustrated passengers chimed in, letting the F-Bombs fly!

Happily, the Mrs. and I kept our cool. I was a bit cooler, but my lady kept her cool.
I've learned not to let this type of thing bother me. If a plane is broken I'll wait until it's repaired. I'll just hang.
But I must admit it is fun to watch the passengers grow stir crazy as they boil over while sitting it out going on and on about the Passenger's Bill of Rights, while they keep screaming into their cellphones to update people waiting for them, sharing their misery with the outside world.

At one point I wondered if I'd died and wound up in the afterlife.
It probably looks like an American Airlines Terminal, right?

Twelve hours later we were home and dry.

Here are some quick sketches made during the wait...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Finally finished!

Thanks to my buddies: Steve, Ryan & David.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Sketch-- Updated (11/07)

This is the latest. Still needs to be color corrected in Photoshop.
I apologize for stretching a 'Halloween Sketch' out until nearly Thanksgiving. But, sometimes it happens.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


click it,
don't be

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's almost time for--

Bjorn's been field-testing his treat bag.
Now all he needs is a costume!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Schnozz and 'Stein...

Something from the '80s, kind of Halloweeny.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Just a quick note to everyone who attended my party last night: It was a pleasure having you in my home. I hope you enjoyed yourselves.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Touch of Evil"

This is one of my favorite films.
Quirky, seedy, corrupt and more over the top than any noir movie ever made. And to top it all off-- it was a complete failure on its release! Isn't it amazing how Orson Welles had such an underappreciated career as a film maker? Not to mention the fact that he was also one of the greatest actors of his time. It's almost as if his gifts and talents never came into focus, was never seen for the wonder they were. Some artists are invisible in their time. Like Vincent van Gogh, for example.

See this wonderful film now in a few different versions on DVD.

And if you've never watched it before, I envy you, you lucky bastard.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rocket Ride in 3-D...

The immensely talented and generous Mr. Max Calo of the U.K. took the time to create a 3-D model of my little guy. Max is a very gifted illustrator and designer. He also draws some very funny cartoons. Check out his blog at:
Use the link above to see the revolving display that Max was kind enough to create. He also has an "Eeyore and Piglet" design a few posts back that will blow your mind.

Thank you, Mr. Calo!

The 3-D model:

The original sketch:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sketchbook: Disney's Cali Adventure

So, I took a breather with some dear friends/co-workers on an off-site the other day at DCA, a beautiful theme park that's different from its 'sister' from across the way.

I love Disney's Cali Adventure because I've always had a great time with my granddaughters there. It's not as crowded as Disneyland and the surroundings are lush with beautiful native foliage and a boardwalk that in my opinion makes Santa Monica look like a slum.

Plus with the added bonus of the new "Toy Story" attraction it's really jumping! So there I sat with my friends- Becky (she's always number one!) Mi Ran and Rick, happily sketching a structure from the water rafting ride.

I also made this other drawing out of my head (because it's the only head I have) of a kid who I imagined would feel as I would, after coming off this exciting ride. I hope you get the chance to experience this wonderfully singular experience at Disney's California Adventure someday, soon. You really deserve it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

a watercolor for a co-worker...

Every time someone moves out or up we're asked in the art department to create a piece of art to commemorate the occasion. Happily this time someone is moving up. It also helps a great deal when you know and have worked with the subject.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

it beats listening...

Brush Pen sketches done during meetings.